In reflecting on these experiences I realized what I was lacking was chaordic confidence, a term I appropriated from my friend Myriam Laberge. Chaordic confidence describes the ability to stay in chaos and trust that order will emerge. It's a subtle art, but it is essential to working with groups who are themselves confronting chaos. If you can stay in the belief that order will emerge from what Sam Kaner calls "The Groan Zone" then the group has something to hitch its horse to, so to speak. But if you are married to your tools, and things go off the rails, you feel like a fish out of water, and you flop around unable to deal with the uncertainty around you. I've seen it happen - we probably all have - and it's not pretty.
Chris Corrigan is one of my heroes. I dream of applying Open Space Technology in my normal classroom.